Clay recently wrote about not being able to post the bands you’d really like to, and I can sympathize. A few years ago I wanted to share The Hazzards, a ukulele-playing pair of girls from, of course, Brooklyn. Alas, nothing was available. If you’re looking for a uke fix, though, a little Jason Holstrom can do the trick. While decidedly more island-themed than The Hazzards, who were, you know, ironic (from Brooklyn), Holstrom plays it kind of straight, dishing up clean pop songs with some palm-inspired lilt. A veteran of a bunch of Seattle bands I’d never heard of, Holstrom gave us a travelogue with his 2007 album The Theives of Kailua. Uke it up!
According to Mill Pond Records, “the creative force behind Blessed Light, singer/songwriter/guitarist Toby Gordon, came into this world on June 17, 1977.” It kind of sounds like he’s still there. I was even thinking of adding a “disco” genre tag for the last track below, “Something More.” In general, though, we’re looking at thick, grand, majestic pop heavily inspired by the Pacific Northwest and the 1970s. So iinstead of wondering when “Suzanne Sunshine” will ever end, imagine it playing on the radio as you drive off with Woodesron to buy Aerosmith tickets (a la Dazed and Confused).
Josh Ottum’s “The Easy Way Out” reminds me of the old joke about the weather in Michigan — if you don’t like it, wait a minute. I lost track of the abrupt tempo changes after about 45 seconds and just let the song play on, digging the cute pop (think Ben Kweller) vibe. The remaining tracks available for free download aren’t quite so schizophrenic, and for me they’re actually more enjoyable. “Who Left the Lights On?” has a great groove, nice simple hooks and a thick sound, while “Freedom” sounds like a synth-ed out video game love song. With all this polished pop, all I want to know is, where are the hand claps?